Liverpool risk Man Utd transfer misery after Jurgen Klopp takes Jude Bellingham gamble | Football | SPORTS

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Liverpool’s stance appears set. They insist after Darwin Nunez, Calvin Ramsay and Fabio Carvalho that they will not be signing another player this summer. They won’t be buying a new midfielder even though they wanted Aurelien Tchouameni before the Frenchman opted to join Real Madrid. Jude Bellingham is clearly very highly admired by the Reds but is a transfer project for 2023, not now.

That’s because Borussia Dortmund have already lost one key player in Erling Haaland, who joined Manchester City, and do not want to lose the England international in the same window. Bellingham agrees that another year will do its development good after two seasons in Germany. He said: “The only future I think about is the next game for Dortmund. I look forward to next season. I look forward to it finally starting. I will be here next season and I will be ready.”

Despite missing out on Tchouameni Liverpool clearly think they have enough options. Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, James Milner, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be the choices for a three-man midfield, with No 10 Carvalho potentially another.

As it stands it looks like Bellingham will be Jurgen Klopp’s top target next summer – he fits the mold of being a young multi-functional operator with technical ability and athleticism. There seems very few central midfielders playing at the same level he and Tchouameni can, particularly at their young ages.

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But the Reds might be taking a significant gamble by not at least trying to prise the player from Dortmund this summer, or looking to agree a deal 12 months early, even though doing either seems difficult. Worryingly though there will be much greater competition in 12 months, and Liverpool may also be occupied then trying to find a successor to Mohamed Salah.

Among the other clubs keen will be Manchester United. A report from The Athletic says Bellingham is top of their wishlist for 2023. The Red Devils wanted the teenager when he was leaving Birmingham in 2020, only for Dortmund to win his heart.

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With Erik ten Hag taking over at Old Trafford this summer, United may be a far more dangerous proposition in the transfer market this time next year. They could have Champions League football back on offer and at last a real identity and structure to their side. That, combined with the financial firepower they have – no Premier League club had a higher wage bill in 2021-22 – would make them incredibly appealing.

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Liverpool of course are in an excellent position themselves to attract the world top young talents. Yet they have a stricter wage structure and will still have top-class options in midfield like Thiago and Fabinho, as well as blossoming talents like Elliott and Jones.

Bellingham – even at 18 – would be United’s best central midfielder right now. He probably would be next summer, even if they sign Frenkie de Jong in the coming weeks from Barcelona. And being the leader of a United team looking to win the league for the first time in over a decade could really appeal.

Chelsea and Manchester City have also been credited with interest in Bellingham and Real Madrid cannot be ruled out as suitors either. It seems he would be the perfect box-to-box addition in Liverpool’s midfield regeneration. But they face a real fight to sign him – and losing out to United would be gutting for Klopp and co.

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